Monday, February 6, 2023
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How Indian TV channels allege Putin has a ‘poisonous plan’ to ‘gas’ Ukraine

Russia and Ukraine would be appalled that their “secret’’ military strategies are being leaked to Hindi news channels.

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Which one would you rather watch? Poetry in toes by the magicians of the ‘beautiful game’, or BJP and AAP bicker over victory and vindication in the Delhi civic polls? ‘Modi ka magic’ in the Gujarat assembly elections on Times Now Navbharat, or Russian President Vladimir Putin’s secret plans for a nuclear ‘atomy attack’ on TV 9 Bharatvarsh

If you have one ounce of gumption, you will watch, nay, applaud, what a pair of feet can do – sometimes assisted by a head – to a football at the World Cup in Qatar. Suggest you subscribe immediately to TV18 Sports or JioCinema or MTV – discover how Lionel Messi messes with his opponents, the three lions England’s Kane, Mbappe catch his napping, and Brazil simply do what only they can: convert the game into ballet, or as they say in Punjabi, balle, balle!

However, if you belong to AAP or BJP, you will be either vanquished and anguished at poll defeats in Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, and Gujarat, or delirious with delight (forgive the alliteration, but couldn’t resist!) at your electoral conquests.


Also read: AAP won the perception war against BJP on Sisodia-CBI episode—with help from TV news


Frightening visuals

If you are the governments of Ukraine, Russia, and ‘Naato’ countries as News Nation insists on calling them, you ought to be glued to TV 9 Bharatvarsh, News 18 India, Times Now Navbharat, and NewsNation so you can learn (a) what your next moves will be, and (b) how your opponents respond, in the Ukraine battleground.

If the Government of India, especially Union Minister for External Affairs S. Jaishankar, is not watching these news channels, boy oh boy, are they missing something. We advise them to tune in, forthwith, every afternoon to the ‘World War’ as news channels refer to it.

They may well be alarmed by what our Russian friends are doing in Ukraine – certainly, none of it is complimentary to Moscow. The airwaves are filled with frightening visuals right out of video war games of the destruction in different Ukrainian cities – Mariupol, Donetsk, and Kyiv. Bombs, missiles, and drones go up in smoke on the ground; tanks fire at all cylinders; and unrelated images of destruction appear – all to the accompaniment of loud, dramatic music.

Honestly, India could have a diplomatic incident on its hands, here, if it’s not careful. The Russians, Ukraine, and their neighbouring countries would be either appalled that their “secret’’ military strategies are being leaked to Hindi news channels, or deeply offended by the war talk on them: ‘Putin’s dangerous plan… to bring Ukraine to its knees’, according to News Nation, includes cutting off power to the cities so that they freeze.


Also read: TV news showed rare intelligence on Mulayam Singh Yadav’s coverage this week


Declaration of ‘nuclear war’

Meanwhile, letter bombs have been sent to Spanish Prime Minister and left at other destinations in the country, after Spain offered interceptor missile systems to Ukraine. This could herald ‘Naato’s’ entry into the conflict, and if ‘Naato’ troops even take a step into Ukraine, ‘nuclear war’ could follow, declared the channel.

Nuclear war is declared on these news channels almost daily, and Russia is always the culprit – this fascination is inexplicable and not something most people talk about lightly. But it seems to have become just another headline here.

TV9 Bharatvarsh warns us that the Russians have already launched, or will shortly launch, ‘chemical warfare’, and that ‘suicide dogs’ strapped with explosives will be unleashed by Russia on Ukraine. And what we have seen in the last nine odd months is but a ‘trailer’ – the Kremlin will now begin a massive attack any time soon.

Meanwhile, News18 India believes that the Russian military is on the back foot as its military losses mount: in ‘Putin’s mission missile fail’, it uses unsourced data – so do all these channels – to prove the point. Around 91,150 Russian soldiers have died in the conflict, 1,908 artillery, 395 rocket systems, 210 air defense systems, 281 fighter jets, 263 helicopters….

It also gives ‘Breaking News’ to allegations that Putin has a ‘poisonous plan’ to ‘gas’ Ukraine.

But the Russians are not the only ones targeted by these Hindi news channels. On Tuesday, News 18 India revealed that French President Emmanuel Macron apparently said that Europe must take responsibility for its own security and if President Putin wants to talk, well, why not – or words to that effect.

Most of us will consider this blameless but News18 India saw more than meets the eye: would NATO be ‘chakna –choor’, it wondered, ‘Is this the end of NATO?’

Alongside Russia, Times Now Navbharat is also doing what it can to worsen relations with China. Apart from Ukraine, it also spends considerable time on discrediting the neighbor. There are stories on protests against Xi Jinping in London, 150 Tibetans protest in Delhi, and PPE suit-clad individuals attempt to drag a man out of his home – and there’s a suspicion that China is behind the cyber attack on AIIMS.

It also had items on the US equipping Taiwan with an ‘advanced defense system’’ and the PLA warning the US that independence for Taiwan was unacceptable.

Australia better watch out, too, according to TNNB. The Chinese are annoyed by an Australian parliamentary delegation visiting Taiwan. ‘Aur badi khabar’ is that there are protests in Mongolia over a ‘coal scam’. This is important, we were informed, because Mongolia nestles between China and Russia.

So now you know.

International news on news channels is very welcome – it’s not something they paid attention to earlier. However, we are baffled by the continuing obsession with Ukraine-Russia. TV9 Navbharat was the first to devote itself to the war between them, but now Times Now Navbharat, News 18 India, and NewsNation have joined them. 

Why? Is the Hindi viewership really all that interested in the range of Russian or French missiles?

We can understand them being round-eyed at the revelation that the crown to coronate England’s King Charles II will be modified. But why on earth would they want to know about ‘M51 or R-29RMU2’?

Views are personal.

(Edited by Tarannum Khan)

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